Prosecutor supports N17 charges

Judicial authorities possess enough evidence to try all 19 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group, a senior prosecutor reportedly decided yesterday, three weeks after taking delivery of the bulky N17 files. Sources close to the investigation said appeals court prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos’s report to the council of Appeals Court judges – which is to issue the official indictments for the N17 trial – «contains no surprises.» Consequently, the report, which will be forwarded to the council within 10 days, is expected to advise maintaining the charges tabled against the 19 suspects, 18 of whom were arrested between the end of June and the end of October and detained pending trial. The 19th, Avgoustinos Xeros, was released after being charged on November 4. The 32-year-old carpenter was the fourth son of Athens priest Triandafyllos Xeros to be charged for membership in the extreme left-wing group, which, by eluding arrest for 27 years, raised serious questions over security forces’ efficiency and prompted claims that the socialist PASOK party which has governed Greece for 17 of the past 21 years was unwilling to stop N17. Xeros’s elder brother, icon-painter Savvas Xeros, was the first N17 suspect to fall into police hands. His confessions, since retracted, led to the other arrests – including those of his brothers Christodoulos and Vassilis. The fact that Karoutsos only took three weeks to sift through the 6,000-page files compiled by examining magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos is attributed by the same sources to his close attendance of the initial investigation. Karoutsos was present during all the interrogations. The council of Appeals Court judges will issue its indictments in late December, and the trial, before a three-judge court, is expected to start around the beginning of March.

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